Aging deer is always a guess, but it’s an educated guess.
QUESTION: I would be interested to know your estimate on the age of the whitetail in this photo.
ANSWER: We generally shy away from “age this deer” questions for fear of opening up the floodgates, but here goes:
There are several keys that can help us narrow down the possibilities. Relatively long legs compared to the body and a thin neck and shoulders pretty much rule out anything over 2 1/2-Years. That is reinforced by small, round, lightly-colored tarsal glands and the date stamp of Nov. 27, which is near or perhaps just past peak rut.
Antler development can be highly variable, but short, narrow beams also suggest a young deer. If you were in a southern state with limited nutrition I might lean toward 2 1/2 years old, but in a northern state with adequate nutrition, in late November, this looks like a healthy yearling (1 1/2). — Recent Ask the Biologist Question:
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